Hills Science Diet dog food

October 8, 2008  
Filed under Dog Food Reviews, Science Diet

Hills Science Diet Dog Food Review

Science Diet dog food is manufactured by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, the same company which makes Hills Prescription Diet formulas. The different rations of Science Diet dog food have been tailored to meet the different nutritional and special health requirements of different life stages, although there is no mention that the products have met the AAFCO nutritional adequacy profiles required for specific breed size, activity level, life stage or lifestyle.

The first major ingredient in most Science Diet products may either be lamb, chicken, or turkey which are considered excellent sources of animal-based protein. However, these are utilized in its raw forms which means they contain high amounts of water (approximately 80%) which can be lost during the manufacturing process.

In an effort to increase protein levels, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, and/or lamb meal was added. These ingredients are considered meat concentrates because they contain about 300% more protein compared to raw or fresh meat.

There may be some reservations on the use of chicken by-product meal because most by-product meals are made from beaks, feathers, feet and other parts from which the prime cuts have been removed and have been deemed unfit for human consumption.

One of the controversial ingredients of Science Diet is corn which is often listed as the first ingredient.  Although corn is a desirable source for the carbohydrate component of the feed, the question lies on the possible source and type of corn which was used. There is a big possibility that the corn used in the Science Diet formulations is of the feed grade like the one which is used in livestock feeds.  Corn, of whatever grade or type, has been linked to food allergies in dogs. This is another point which makes corn a controversial ingredient.

Science Diet dog food formulas also utilize soybean meal which is a source of plant-based protein, albeit an inferior one.  The addition of soybean meal will help boost the protein level of the dog food.

Soybean oil is another plant-based protein source but has been linked to food allergies in many dogs.

Animal fat which is preserved by mixed tocopherols and citric acid is also another controversial ingredient because the source has not been established. Animal fat is another by-product , which if the source is not mentioned, may come from anywhere including restaurant grease, euthanized animals, dead or dying livestock animals, or even from slaughterhouse waste.

Science Diet dog food products provide healthy sources of omega-3 fatty acids from chicken liver flavor and flaxseed.  However, flaxseed is almost indigestible in humans and since we have the same digestive systems with dogs, there is a high probability that it is also indigestible in dogs. Thus dog food manufacturers who want to take advantage of the omega-3 fatty acids present in flaxseed often use flaxseed oil or powder.

Unlike most top-rated dog food formulas, Science Diet dog food products apparently have not been coated with probiotics. These are friendly bacteria which enhance the integrity of the digestive system and boost the digestive process.

There is also no mention that the minerals present in the Science Diet formulas has been chelated, which means that minerals are not as easily absorbed and assimilated into the body as when they have been chelated.

Customer Reviews

Many dog owners decry the fact that Hills Science Diet is marketed as being recommended by veterinarians.  They also noted that the prices of Science Diet are comparable to some top-rated brands even though its ingredients are not top brass.

On the brighter side, there are also positive reviews from dog owners who switched to Science Diet and have not met any problems. Some also liked the fact that the dog food brand has been prescribed and/or recommended by their veterinarians.

Overall, we do not recommend Hills Science Diet and do not believe that it represents a good quality or good value dog food.

Science Diet Puppy Formulas:

Science Diet Adult Formulas:

Science Diet Mature Adult Formulas:

  • Science Diet Mature Adult 7+ Original Dog Food
  • Science Diet Mature Adult 7+ Small Bites Dog Food
  • Science Diet Mature Adult 5+ Large Breed  Dog Food

Science Diet Consumer Rating

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128 Responses to “Hills Science Diet dog food”
  1. meesha says:

    Heather–both you and your husband are right! Finding a food your animals will eat will always be number one but two and three should be a food NOT based on corn or soy or wheat and supply the right percentage of protein. There are a number of adequate foods for the healthy dog and not so much for an ill dog. Do not let your vet talk you into using the food they carry. They are merchants and will sell you what they have–and even vets cannot agree which food is best as they all carry differing ones. Just remember that the bigger the name of the company, the weightier their bottom line. These big companies are owned by big manufacturers of human food and as such are quite devoted to using their “leftovers” in animal food.
    Look for food that lists low Glycemic grains such as oats, barley and brown rice–operative word being brown. Foods that carry additives such as Omega’s, L-Carnitine and Glucosamine are better than those without although the levels are important ie Omega’s must be more than 250mg to be of any benefit. As you have stated the dogs have skin sensitivity you really should avoid grains that have been linked to allergies. Even if the data is inconclusive, erring on the side of good grains cannot be a bad thing.(and make sure your cats are not getting ANY grain based food as they are true carnivores and shouldn’t be given dry food based on grain.)
    If you find the food you choose doesn’t quite make the cut in protein or antioxidant rich fruits and veg then you can simply add fish, broccoli, green beans, peas etc to their meals to give them a boost.
    One final note: add some ground flaxseed to the dogs meals and you will see a marked improvement in their coats and skin.
    Good Luck and remember to breath. It is confusing but rather simple in the long run. Feed your animal the best you can and go on, guilt free.

  2. Charlie says:

    Science Diet doesn’t have enough meat

  3. John says:

    We used Science Diet for the better part of ten days when our black Lab was a puppy. It was awful; we intuitively knew it was poor quality the moment we opened it, because the smell that came out of that kibble, every bag we bought of it — was intolerable, even rancid. Smelled up the whole house, so much so we had to keep it tucked away in a remote closet in the basement. Even so, just to make sure, we bought several more bags from different sources to make sure we hadn’t just gotten a bad batch; two bags came from two different veterinarians. It continued to make our dog sick. And evidently Science Diet must be making rather lucrative deals with veterinarians all over the country, as s o many of them push this dreck. Even the MSPCA in Boston, one of the best animal hospitals in the country, dole it out. Science Diet is total garbage; stay away! Stick to a high quality food, such as Orijen or Holistic Select (Eagle Pack) …

  4. sebikun says:

    man my adorable min. pin. cant even look at this food. He hates it so much that he would take it from his plate and hide it haha he loves pro plan

  5. Michelle says:

    sebikun,ha ha the jokes on you!! Comparing Science diet to Pro plan is like comparing black crap to brown crap….. THEY ARE BOTH CRAP !!!!! LOL

  6. alicia gillett says:

    i have been buying hills sensitive stomach for my dog but i just found out new quarintine regulations and that u are going to make the bags smaller and charge the same. I can say now i will not buy the product anymore i will not be ripped off so please dont let this happen. I am a single mum studying full time so i want my moneys worth and i think if you follow suit to the supermarkets making things smaller and charging the same is so wrong. I can say for sure you will loose alot of customers i am looking into other companies so if u decide to do this and rip people off i will go elsewhere. thanks alicia gillett

  7. Terri says:

    If you ask your vet what they feed their cat or dog, I can almost guarantee it, they’ll tell you it’s NOT Science Diet. S.D. is CRAP!

  8. beaglesmom says:

    I did once ask my vet what he fed his dogs – his answer? Kirkland Lamb and Rice. That was years ago, don’t know if he still feeds it. A “grading chart” I have lists Science Diet as an “F” – just a little better than some of the grocery store garbage. Most vets “push” SD because they SELL it. I figured if my vet fed his dogs Kirkland, it was probably good enough for my dogs – tho sometimes have to resort to Nutro Natural Choice since our nearest Costco is over 60 miles away. The Nutro is the best I can buy locally.

  9. carol says:

    we just got a new black lab..and i was told to feed her science diet..then a friend told me not to feed her that, it was not good for her..im confused on what to feed her any suggestions..i also heard some dogs got liver failure eating science diet..i threw mine away..

  10. pilot says:

    I recently switched to Science Diet and it has turned my dog into a pooping machine! Not even joking, she went from one bowel movement a day to 4-5!!! How is this healthy for a dog to digest food so fast?? She just always seems hungry. I wonder if she’s even getting any nutrition?? It’s a lot of money just for her to go through it so quick! I’m getting her away from this brand quick and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone!!

  11. Adri says:

    This stuff is awful. My local SPCA feeds it to their dogs and foster dogs. So when I adopted my dog, I bought a small bag of it to mix in with what I was going to switch her to – Blue Buffalo. I would put her food in a bowl and mix in some Blue. She would pick out all the Blue, and by the time she was done eating, there was still a bunch of Science Diet left in the bowl, but not a single piece of Blue.
    I now feed Prey Model Raw(best thing EVER, look it up!) and she’s loving it.

  12. Barbara says:

    You know what should happen with Hills Science Diet? People should just STOP buying it! It has been known for a long time that it is terrible food. Let the crap rot on the shelves of all the vets that have prostituted themselves to Hills! Shame on them for using their credentials and their patient’s trust in them to profit from such an unhealthy and downright dangerous product, but DOUBLE shame on pet owners who all have the internet at their disposal, and can easily take the time to research their pet’s food! Vets like human doctors are notorious for being nutrition morons.

  13. Denise Crane says:

    I have been feeding my Labs Science Diet for 14 1/2 years. This year I lost my two oldest and not because of the food I was feeding them. I am also a breeder and start my puppies out on Science Diet puppy. They do well on it and I have been using it for 12 years. People always compliment me on what beautiful Labs I have. The owners of my puppies have never complained about gastrointestinal problems with their dogs. The Science Diet dog food goes flying off the shelf at my local pet food store. It can’t be all that bad. It was one of the only pet foods not recalled when we had that big contamination scare from those companies that have their dog food produced in China. I highly recommend Science Diet to all my puppy people and credit it for the long lives of my first two Labs. This seems like a Science Diet bashing site so I am not sure if my comment will even make it into the comments section!

  14. Debbie Sieracki says:

    I have been buying science diet for over 7 years now. I am very disappointed in the last 5 bags I have bought. There are more crumbs and powder than dog food bites in the bags. I have 2 dogs now, the 1 year old food is absolutely perfect, but my 7 year olds food, science diet mature large breed, is just terrible. She doesn’t even want to eat it because of all the powder she gets in every scoop. Not very happy about the quality, as expensive as the food is I should not be having this issue.

  15. Pam says:

    My dog was perscribed Hills KD, after bladder stone surgery, and since we also have his brother from the same litter, it was sugested we start feeding him the same. I am not happy, and am in desperate serch for a low protein diet for them. HELP! In the last month of feeding this diet, the one who haad the surgery has put on at least 5+ lbs, and is always looking for MORE FOOD!!! His brother is more active, but his coat don’t look as good as it did before, and seems to be loosing weight! Prior to surgery, they were on a raw food based diet, but the vet said the protein level could not be regulated, and suggested the switch, or we may end up having to have surgery again for stones! If you ahve any suggestions for alternate food, plese post!!

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Should you have a concern regarding the diet of your dog, you should contact your veterinarian. All information on this site is the opinion of the author, and is presented solely for informational purposes and should not, at any time, be considered a substitute for seeking or receiving professional veterinary care for your dog(s).
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